Not sure if William Lane Craig is Catholic ? Are his books worth reading ? I’m interested in to dig into kalam , bing bang and cosmology arguments for god’s existence. Do you recommend Craig ?
He is not RC.
I have heard that his books are good. I think I recall him being recommended by a good catholic source though regarding the topics you mention.
I don’t believe he is Catholic, but I enjoy his theological debates on the existence of God.
You’re better off with St. Thomas Aquinas.
In terms of kalam vs. classical (St. Thomas) arguments, I agree. Craig is very good on cosmology though, see e.g. his debates with atheist philosopher Quentin Smith. Strongly recommended in this area.
Merry Christmas to all!
I think that when Catholics consider William Lane Craig, the first thing to remember is that apologetics functions very differently in the Evangelical community than it does in the Catholic Church. There’s a doctoral thesis waiting to be written in that, but let me just briefly suggest that the difference can probably be partially illuminated by competing understandings of born again, which Protestants (not all, but many… certainly Evangelicals and even more so those on the Conservative side) understand as that momentary and powerful instant of Conversion and Catholics understand as the washing away of sin in the Sacrament of Baptism. This is an old and timeless debate, but we don’t perhaps realize how living it really is. Some Protestants will view Catholics as nonChristian precisely because Catholics dont have an understanding of their Christian life as beginning in some recognizable and memorable conversion. Likewise, Catholics are more likely to understand the phrase constant conversion – it is starkly opposed to born again.
At any rate, apologetics for Evangelics of Dr. Craig’s ilk understand apologetics to be part of the evangelical enterprise, part of the missionary work of the Church to cause conversions and explicitly, conversions on the born again sort. Catholics, I would contend, recognize this aspect of apologetics (that it can be part of being a soul to Christ) but certainly also affirm that apologetics is the more general willingness and ability to merely answer questions about Catholicism in a friendly and available manner. Thus, apologetics is more closely related to the heart and essence of the Evangelicalism, whereas it certainly is not so centrally located for Catholic. This is a subtle point, but any experience with Dr. Craig’s followers (it’s a little cultish, at times) will reveal that they undertake the apologetics of Dr. Craig’s ritualistically and with a fervor that certainly raises eyebrows.
I also detect a certain inconsistency between the way Dr. Craig expresses “faith” and the way he expects his apologetics operate in the real world. Again, suggesting the born again understanding of conversion, Dr. Craig and his followers will not explicitly suggest that a person must necessarily agree and assent to each of this apologetics arguments in order to be a Christian (such a position would deny the place of God or of faith in the conversion experience and could commit a sort of rationalistic heresy) however they will genuinely be baffled by religious persons who are unmoved by their apologetics, or even overly reject an apologetic argument. This creates the impression that they really do regard apologetics as the necessary ingredient for faith.
All of that said, Dr. Craig’s arguments will likely find some readership in those already inclined towards arguments for the existence of God, but it at some point, I suspect that a Catholic will begin to feel like she is being asked to drink the kool-aid.
I disagree. When I read Craig’s writings, especially his cosmological ones, they make the appeararance of good ‘technical papers’ about defense of faith, and cause me no more wanting to drink the kool-aid than any other ‘technical’ paper, including the scientific papers that I read in my work as a biochemist.
This probably isn’t the place to argue the actual merits of Dr. Craig’s philosophical work. I’m proposing that Dr. Craig’s ouvre needs to be contextualized within theological differences between Catholics and Evangelicals, especially for Catholics.
So, I certainly respect that one might conclude that Dr. Craig’s papers about cosmology appear like “technical papers about defense of faith.” It is a separate question whether they are of any real theological or scientific value.
The Kalam argument is not of any scientific value whatsoever. There is no cosmologist you will find that will see it holds any value other than a tool for apologists who make stuff up as they go along.
The Kalam argument is not a scientific argument, but a philosophical one, so saying that it “is not of any scientific value whatsoever” is of limited relevance.
Having said that, I am neither a fan of the Kalam argument, nor willing to defend it qua argument.
The **only **relevance the Kalam argument has is purely philosophical and devoid of science.
I think we agree again.
Not quite, but of course you know that.
Interesting. I like Kalam. I think it compliments Aquinas’ second way quite well. That being said, I don’t think it proves everything Craig claims it does. I think it is useful to demonstrate the absurdity of an infinite regression of efficient causes (actual infinite).
I found another interesting author, writing about physics and religion John Charlton Polkinghorne, theoretical physicist, theologian and Anglican priest.